Newsletter v21.09
5 min read

Newsletter v21.09

Newsletter v21.09

Photo by ThisisEngineering RAEng on Unsplash

👋 Personal

Back on track!

There are just a few days left in my current course — I'm looking forward to a break before course 5 of 6 stars. During the break, I will follow the Just in Time Learning methodology.

I picked up that phrase from Pat Flynn, and it seems like excellent advice. We can't do all the things at once, but we can focus for a week (or 1 < X < 7 days) on one topic to learn enough to move a product forward. The next JITL can be about a different topic and so on.

Perhaps you spend 2-3 days learn how to update your website (just enough to make it better), and the next JITL focus on newsletters.


📰 News of the Week

1️⃣ Microsoft Steps Up Push to Bring Virtual Reality to the Masses

Link: https://www.roadtovr.com/microsoft-mesh-announcement-multi-user-xr-service/

Earlier this week, at the Microsoft Ignite event, the Mesh-enabled version of AltspaceVR was announced and demonstrated.

I'm an XR enthusiast and co-President of the Seattle Chapter of the VR/AR Association. As such, I read a lot of news about eXtended Reality (XR).

👉 Even without a headset, you can still participate and create an account with AltspaceVR.

Microsoft Mesh is a mixed reality platform that powers collaborative experiences with a feeling of presence – meaning users feel like they are physically present with each other, even when they are not. By integrating on top of Microsoft Mesh, AltspaceVR allows companies to hold meetings and work gatherings in Virtual Reality with enterprise-grade security features including secure sign-ins, session management, privacy compliance, and much more.

2️⃣ How Google's hot air balloon surprised its creators

Link: https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20210222-how-googles-hot-air-balloon-surprised-its-creators

I'm not breaking any news here, but Google (Alphabet the parent company) makes a LOT of money. So much so that they can afford to perform many experiments and push ideas at GoogleX.

One of those projects was Project Loon — using giant, semi-autonomous balloons to deliver the Internet to far-reaching corners of the globe.

Image credit: Loon

The article’s title is a bit misleading, as the real story is how Artificial Intelligence (AI) leads to novel solutions or recreates centuries-old strategies by itself.


3️⃣ Imaginary Numbers May Be Essential for Describing Reality

Link: https://www.quantamagazine.org/imaginary-numbers-may-be-essential-for-describing-reality-20210303/

I am not a mathematician nor a quantum physicist, so I don't claim to understand the paper (in review) written about in this article.

Having limited (or no) knowledge of a topic isn't wrong, but there is no reason not to learn about it. Therefore, on occasion, I drop into the quantum computer arena to see what's going on.

👉 Do you remember imaginary numbers from high school or college days?


📱 WebApp of the Week:

This entry is part “news of the week” and “app of the week”

Using Machine Learning (ML) My Heritage will bring an old photograph to life. Just like the paintings in Hogwart's!

The remarkable technology for animating photos was licensed by MyHeritage from D-ID, a company specializing in video reenactment using deep learning.

Link: https://academic.oup.com/humupd/article/23/6/646/4035689

I'm mixing things up a bit. Instead of the website of the week, it's an academic paper of the week.

The paper is a meta-analysis of English-written PubMed/MEDLINE and EMBASE studies between 1981 and 2013. The authors screened 7,518 abstracts and 2,510 articles.

🤔 Does life imitate art? Or does art imitate life?

Science fiction books and films have explored this possibility for world-building with pretty wild outcomes. Recently this includes the film, Children of Men and The Handmaid's Tale.

Sperm counts among men in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand declined more than 59% from 1973 to 2011, according to a meta-analysis Swan co-wrote in 2017. At the current rate, half of men in those countries would have no sperm by 2045, while many others would have very low counts, Swan told USA TODAY.

👉 We should all read academic papers from time to time. Reading makes us smarter. Smarter makes us better humans.


🎛 Gadget of the Week: Molekule

Well before the pandemic, I tried an air purifier called the Molekule Air. They only had one product, now they have four consumer products and have entered the industrial market too.

When Molekule announced the Air Mini, I purchased a pair of them. If you want to give it a try, use my 🎁 link to save $50.

The Molekule technology, called Photo Electrochemical Oxidation (PECO) eliminates indoor pollutants at a molecular scale. Light shines onto a filter membrane coated with proprietary nanoparticles. This light-activated catalytic reaction on the surface of the filter allows Molekule air purifiers to break down pollutants of any size.

Image credit: Molekule

🎙Podcast Episode of the Week: GeekWire, Happy 10th!

My morning routine begins with technology news reading. The first site on my list is GeekWire. Initially, I read it because I live in Seattle, which is their home base too. I recommend it to any techie, no matter where you live.

Seattle is home to Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, and the Google Cloud team. There are other Unicorn's here, too (most recently Auth0 sold for 6.5B), and most tech companies have engineering offices. Facebook has several thousand employees and has purchased more office space to continue its expansion here.

‎GeekWire on Apple Podcasts
GeekWire brings you the week’s latest technology news, trends and insights, covering the world of technology from our home base in Seattle. Our regular news podcast features commentary and analysis from our editors and reporters, plus interviews with special guests.

Have a wonderful weekend and a productive week ahead.

Work Hard. Have Fun. Be Flexible. + Be seeing you!

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